Do you want life?

I guess if one were to offer life, they would have to be able to give life.  This is the claim that Jesus gave of Himself when accused of healing a man and then telling him to pick up his mat and walk – and that on a day that no one was supposed to be doing any kind of labour.

Early in His life on earth, Jesus made it quite clear to the religious leaders – in a formal, systematic, orderly and repetitive fashion that He and God were one and that His divine commission and authority came from God.

He is, by nature, divine.  He cannot act contrary to His nature.  He must act as God the Father acts.  His words and His deeds are those of the Father.  Like father, like son, we say, and so does our Lord.  The Son does what He sees His Father doing.

The other element of Jesus’ authority to give life is that He is rooted in His Father’s love for Him as His Son.  Even if Jesus could act independently of the Father (which He cannot), why would He ever want to? The Father loves the Son, and He shows the Son all that He is doing. The Father withholds nothing from the Son. The Father and the Son share all things. So what is it the Son needs to grasp for Himself by acting independently of the Father? The Father’s love for the Son removes any motivation for the Son to act independently of the Father.

The Father shows the Son everything He is doing so that the Son will do likewise. What Jesus is doing is that which He has seen the Father doing.

God alone raises the dead giving us life. So also the Son gives life to whomever He wishes. This “giving of life” appears to be the giving of spiritual life our Lord will “give life” by literally raising the dead.

The Son has the power to give life to the dead, and the Father has also assigned all judgment to Him. The Son saves us by bearing the wrath of God in the sinner’s place; He also executes God’s wrath upon those who reject His sacrifice for sins. That role once played by the Father—the judgment of all people—has now been given over to the Son exclusively, so that the Son might be uniquely honored by everyone,  just as they honored the Father as the “Judge of all the earth”. Those who refuse to honor the Son also dishonor the Father, who has given all judgment to the Son. We must honor the Son as they do the Father, because the Father has purposed it to be this way.

If Jesus is the Son of God, then whoever hears His message and believes in the One who sent Him has eternal life. To possess eternal life is to escape divine condemnation. The one who believes crosses over from a state of death to the state of life.

Just how can the Son give eternal life to those who believe in Him, and judge those who reject Him? It is only through resurrection—His resurrection, and the resurrection of the dead. There will be a time when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.  This is possible because of our Lord’s Father-Son relationship with God the Father.  

Jesus makes it very clear: a time is coming when He will raise all the dead from the grave. The dead include not only those who are saved, but those who are not. The righteous experience the resurrection resulting in (eternal) life. The unrighteous dead are the recipients of the resurrection resulting in condemnation.

 

 

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